Ty Gibbs Scores Runner Up in ARCA Debut, but is Not Satisfied with Second Place

Ty Gibbs dives into turn one early during practice for the Pensacola 200 on March 9, 2019. He would go on to finish second in the race, his debut effort in the ARCA Menards Series. (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

PENSACOLA, Florida (March 13, 2019) — Ty Gibbs, grandson of NASCAR car owner Joe Gibbs, had never seen Five Flags Speedway prior to the Pensacola 200, yet he brought his number 18 Monster Energy Toyota to a second place finish nonetheless. Oh, and he did so in his ARCA Menards Series debut.

Gibbs passed third place finisher Christian Eckes on the final turn of the final lap, but wasn’t satisfied with just a second place finish.

A runner up finish in a debut event would have most rookies screaming with excitement, but for Gibbs, it was frustrating. The youngster spoke like a seasoned veteran after the race, with remarks that only a competitor with years of experience would have.

“I had a great car, but I think I lost it on pit road,” recalled Gibbs. “It was my first time doing a live pit stop so when I pushed the clutch in it just slipped forward and I think that’s what lost us the race…. I just wish we were in victory lane because I’m tired of finishing second.”

Gibbs also finished second at New Smyrna Speedway in the 175 lap affair for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series during the World Series of Asphalt Racing.

In that race, Gibbs was battling for the lead until contact with Colin Garrett allowed eventual winner Derek Kraus to slip through with 40 laps to go.

Back in Pensacola, a determined Gibbs found it hard to see the positive aspect of his achievements, having only the thoughts of the checkered flag in his mind.

He added, “Second place sucks, but I’m taking away some nice nostalgia to have. We’ll move on to the next knowing knowing that our Monster Energy Toyota was bad fast tonight.”

In Phoenix following Kyle Busch’s win, Joe Gibbs was asked about his grandson’s night in Pensacola.

It was his first ARCA race.  We were proud of him.  He qualified 10th, fought his way up to second, had kind of a mix-up in the last pit stop, came out sixth, and was able to work back up to second.

While Ty Gibbs was flippant about finishing second in his first two attempts at the heavier NASCAR and ARCA stockcars, he actually scored the first win for Joe Gibbs Racing of the 2019 season with a victory at Myrtle Beach Speedway in early February in a Late Model.

That win, in an effort in association with Nelson Motorsports, was his third Late Model win, and came only a week after the memorial services held for his uncle, the late J.D. Gibbs.

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PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been going "Beyond the Headline" since 2018”.